Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.
Latest from Paul Bremmer
On Thursday’s NewsHour, PBS co-anchor Hari Sreenivasan misled viewers in a story about the latest action in Congress regarding the $984-billion continuing resolution -- a spending bill which will fund federal government operations through September 30, when the current fiscal year ends. Said Sreenivasan: “That spending legislation was necessary because Congress hasn't passed a budget in years.”
While that sentence is true, it's incredibly misleading in that the U.S. House of Representatives has repeatedly passed budget resolutions. It's just that the Democratic-controlled Senate has failed to approve a budget, any budget, in more than three years.
Support for same-sex marriage is on the rise in America, and PBS couldn’t be happier about it. On Tuesday’s NewsHour, the taxpayer-subsidized network ran a story that betrayed more than a hint of elation at the growing acceptance of gay marriage among both politicians and the public. Leading the cheers was co-anchor Gwen Ifill, who narrated the story and moderated the discussion that followed.
At the top of the segment, Ifill promised her viewers that there “ appears to be an evolving sea change on attitudes toward gay marriage.” She then began her package by insisting that, “Steadily and remarkably, public and political support for same-sex marriage is on the rise.”
The liberal media’s attempt to paint Republicans as a party in crisis continues, this time with fresh ammunition from the Republican National Committee’s “Growth & Opportunity Project.” The recently-released report provides a critical review of what went wrong in the 2012 election cycle and how the party can improve its effort to win future elections.
On Monday’s PBS NewsHour, the taxpayer-subsidized PBS network brought on Susan Page from USA Today and Stuart Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report to rip into the Republican Party. Or, as anchor Gwen Ifill put it, the guests were there “to talk about how deep the party's fissures go.”
As Sarah Palin told a crowd of cheering conservatives this weekend, CPAC is the time of year when journalists present their annual “conservatives in crisis” stories. That was certainly the case on Saturday’s CBS This Morning, which featured Politico’s Maggie Haberman as the sole CPAC analyst.
Asked by anchor Anthony Mason if the tone at CPAC was different this year following the Republican loss in the 2012 presidential election, Haberman replied, “The tone is sort of defeatist, frankly.”
[UPDATE BELOW: Cruz's office responds.] MSNBC's Joe Scarborough unleashed a vitriolic tirade against the left-wing media’s new favorite punching bag, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), on Friday’s Morning Joe. Incensed at Cruz’s questioning of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Scarborough attacked the freshman senator as “ignorant” five times.
MSNBC’s resident RINO was upset because Cruz suggested to Feinstein that her gun control bill violates the Second Amendment. According to Scarborough, this is an “ignorant” view:
Now that the new pope has been chosen, the life of the Catholic Church continues– and so does the liberal media’s effort to persuade the Church to change its traditions. On Thursday’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski complained, “Secrecy that surrounds the traditions of the Catholic Church -- it’s a recipe for disaster.... There is a lot of work ahead and some serious changes that need to happen blocked by tradition that may make it impossible.”
For analysis of the Church’s need to overcome tradition, Brzezinski turned to Frank Bruni, former Rome bureau chief for the New York Times but now an openly gay op-ed columnist for the paper. Bruni, of course, agreed with Brzezinski’s premise. To him, the conclave perfectly symbolizes what’s wrong with the Catholic Church: “[The cardinals] lock themselves away. They go – we have no idea what happens until sometimes years later, if ever.”
Tavis Smiley invited ultra-liberal Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on his show Monday night for a friendly chat about the American economy. Predictably, Krugman used the appearance as an opportunity to bash Republicans, and on a taxpayer-subsidized television program no less.
Krugman and Smiley both complained that the American people have not yet become “sufficiently outraged” over the budget cuts brought by sequestration. Smiley demanded to know why the outrage has not appeared and when it will come. Don’t worry, Krugman reassured him, pain from the sequester will take time to kick in. The outrage will come once people start losing essential government services.
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was convicted yesterday on 24 separate federal corruption charges, which could cost him up to 20 years in prison. However, ABC, CBS, and NBC could not be bothered to even mention the conviction of this disgraced ex-mayor of a major, blighted American city on their nightly news programs.
Perhaps they were busy with what are clearly weightier matters. Monday’s NBC Nightly News, for example, found time to mention Justin Timberlake’s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, the ten worst places to retire in America, and the plight of penguins in Antarctica.
The PBS NewsHour invited Nancy Pelosi on for an interview Thursday night, and the sparks were flying. Sparks of love, that is, between anchor Judy Woodruff and the House minority leader. Woodruff conducted a 10-minute interview of mostly softballs about the salient topics of the day. But one of today’s hottest topics, the sequester, only merited one question from Woodruff - and it wasn’t a query a serious journalist would ask.
Woodruff began, “Quick question about the sequester. The White House spent a lot of time, the president did, talking about the dire consequences once the sequester kicked in.” Okay. So far, so good. Now, surely Woodruff is going to ask why the president did an about-face and is now downplaying the sequester’s effects. Or maybe she’ll ask if Mr. Obama’s fearmongering was overblown. Or maybe she’ll even ask Pelosi if the president did everything he could to reach a compromise with Republicans to avert the sequester.
Rejoice, people, it’s pledge drive week on PBS! All of your favorite PBS shows are being interrupted so that a couple of smiling faces can beg you to donate some of your hard-earned income to your local public station. Of course, those of us who pay federal taxes are already subsidizing PBS, albeit involuntarily and indirectly through the federally-chartered Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
It’s not always easy to get folks to part with their money, so PBS is doing more than simply offering a mug to anyone who gives $75 or an umbrella to those who donate $100. They are also aggressively touting their own programming, trying to remind viewers of how much they gain by watching. On Wednesday evening, the pledge drive during the NewsHour attempted to use liberal Mark Shields and quasi-conservative David Brooks as selling points for the network.
Liberal PBS host Tavis Smiley recently became the latest media member to refer to the $85 billion sequester as “austerity.” On his self-titled show Tuesday night, the taxpayer-subsidized Smiley got all frowny while discussing the American economy with former FDIC chairwoman Sheila Bair:
"Since you raised the issue, let me ask how it is, in your mind at least, the notion of austerity, and whatever people in Washington don’t want to call it, that’s exactly what this is. Sequestration’s a big, fancy word. This is austerity masking as a conversation about deficit reduction as far as I’m concerned."
In the aftermath of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, CBS has made up its mind about Catholicism: the Church is in crisis and must be reformed! Whereas Martin Luther tacked his theses on the Wittenberg church door, however, CBS opted to ensure its stab at church reformation would go largely unnoticed by including the segment on Saturday's CBS This Morning.
To discuss this topic, CBS anchor Anthony Mason brought in three liberals: Jim Frederick of Time Magazine, the Rev. Paul Raushenbush of the Huffington Post -- the great-grandson of Baptist minister and Social Gospel champion Walter Rauschenbusch -- and Sister Maureen Fiedler, who hosts her own public radio show. All three agreed with the premise that the Catholic Church needs to change. If the message wasn’t clear enough, a screen behind the guests read “Catholic Church in Crisis” (with no question mark) and the chyron read “Catholic Church in Crisis: Is the Vatican Capable of Reform?”
President Obama held a White House press conference Friday afternoon to discuss the sequester, which takes effect officially this evening. But when reporter Christi Parsons of the Chicago Tribune got her chance to ask a question, she didn’t ask about the sequester at all. Instead, the Obama-friendly journalist lobbed the president a softball regarding California’s Proposition 8, which enshrines traditional marriage into the Golden State's constitution:
"Mr. President, your administration weighed in yesterday on the Proposition 8 case. A few months ago it looked like you might be averse to doing that. And I just wondered if you could talk a little bit about your deliberations and how your thinking evolved on that. Were there conversations that were important to you? Were there things that you read that influenced your thinking?"
The liberal media’s effort to demonize Sen. Ted Cruz continues. On last Friday’s episode of PBS’s Inside Washington, the mostly left-leaning panel of journalists piled on the criticism of the junior senator from Texas. The attacks were focused on Cruz’s questioning of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during Hagel’s confirmation battle. Moderator Gordon Peterson presented the topic like this: “The Tea Party activists love this guy for being so aggressive. I’m wondering how this aggression so early in his career plays on in the Senate.”
But according to panelist Evan Thomas, a Politico contributor, Cruz is not merely aggressive; he is dangerous: “You need to watch this guy, because there are a lot of demagogues out there, but not that many who are that smart. He is really, really smart, and that makes him potentially dangerous.”
Tavis Smiley, PBS’s resident liberal activist, unleashed his anger against the Democratic Party on his talk show last night. In a conversation with California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Smiley bemoaned the lack of increase in the federal minimum wage in recent years, attacking Democrats from the left: “Why has your party, the Democrats in Washington, the Democrat as president in the White House, why in the first term are they not more aggressive about that?”
The taxpayer-subsidized left-wing host was furious that President Obama has lowered his minimum wage demand from $9.50 to $9.00 an hour: “I love the guy, but I keep saying he’s negotiating against himself. He started at $9.50, now he’s down to $9.00, and the debate hasn’t started.” He finished his rant by slamming the entire party once again:
NBC continued to sound the alarm over the impending sequester on Saturday’s Today show. On a day when the CBS and ABC morning shows questioned how bad the cuts would really be, NBC ran a highly unbalanced story that mostly propagated President Obama’s doomsday scenario.
Co-anchor Lester Holt set the scene with a dire metaphor: “There's a storm of another kind brewing in Washington today. We're less than a week now away from mandatory government spending cuts going into effect.” The story, presented by White House correspondent Kristen Welker, went on to focus almost entirely on Obama’s warnings from his most recent weekly address. Welker played a clip from that address in which the president attacked Congress for failing to compromise. She also featured a sound bite of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warning of delayed commercial flights.
Thursday night’s episode of PBS’s Charlie Rose proved that left-wing smear jobs can come in many forms - including poetry. The New Yorker’s Calvin Trillin stopped by the show to chat about his latest book, an account of the 2012 presidential election told in comic verse. Trillin shared a few of his poems with Rose, including this one:
I did a poem after the election that was called "Republican Soul-Searching." Says, "we're searching our souls and we're wondering why, we got beat so badly our rivals are gloating. It’s obvious now where our campaign went wrong, we should have prevented more people from voting." I mean, that was their strategy.
Freelance journalist Helaine Olen appeared on The Daily Show Wednesday night to promote her new book Pound Foolish, in which she attacks the financial planning industry as a group of snake oil salesmen. The show didn’t have enough time to air the full conversation, so viewers had to go online to www.thedailyshow.com to hear Olen’s proposed solution for de-emphasizing the importance of investing.
It must have shocked anyone who believes in personal responsibility. Olen’s answer to the personal finance industry can be found in a core tenet of the Occupy Wall Street movement:
The Washington Post reported yesterday that Spanish-language channel Univision is partnering with ABC News to create a 24-hour news channel called Fusion. This new channel, set to debut late this summer, will aim to attract young, mostly second-generation Hispanics who are more comfortable communicating in English than in Spanish. As the Post notes, Fusion could exert much influence over the opinions of Hispanics. And because Hispanics are growing in number and political influence, Fusion could help shape the outcome of the 2016 election and many more elections to come. The question, therefore, is whether the new channel will be fair and balanced or ideologically driven.
On that front, things don’t look promising. The Post reported on what ABC News president Ben Sherwood said about Fusion: “Sherwood, the ABC news president, says ‘Fusion will be guided by the standards of ABC News.’ But he leaves open the possibility of ‘clearly delineated opinion or advocacy.’” Guided by the standards of ABC News? If that’s the case, Fusion is likely to become yet another appendage of the Left.
NBC continues to lead the way in belittling any and all Republican attempts to stand up to President Obama. On Sunday’s Today, David Gregory rehashed the common left-wing talking point that Republicans are opposing Obama at every turn merely for the sake of being obstructionist.
Commenting on Republican opposition to the Chuck Hagel nomination, Gregory said, “There’s no question that this looks to be similar to what people are criticizing Republicans for doing on the economy or on spending, on these various battles they’ve had over the debt, which is just trying to jam the president up.”